Nepal has made significant progress in raising primary school enrolment, with more than 95% of boys and girls now attending school from Grades 1 through 5. More than half of adolescent girls in rural areas are now in secondary schools; 15 years ago it was less than 30%.
Despite this achievement, poverty, family pressure and gender-unfriendly schools mean that the dropout rate for girl students is still high. As a result, adolescent girls from rural areas get caught in a trans-generational cycle of poverty inherited from their mothers, and are more likely to pass it on to their own children.
In response, VSO Nepal, in partnership with Aasaman Nepal, the British Council, Global Action and Mercy Corps, is helping girls in districts like Parsa — where female literacy is low — through a program called Sisters for Sisters’ Education. Older girls are recruited to mentor younger ones, increase their enrolment and prevent dropouts.